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American of Martinsville

American of Martinsville is today revered as one of the finest manufacturers of mid-century modern furniture in the United States, but its beginnings were unexpectedly humble.

Well ahead of the Civil War, tobacco was a cash crop in places such as Virginia, and the plant was grown with frequency on farms in Martinsville and elsewhere. In the early 1900s, the business around tobacco was changing and the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company was expanding nationally, buying any Virginia factories in reach. Former tobacco producers Ancil Witten and Charles Keesee turned away from the business in 1906 and, with merely $30,000 in capital (and the support of local business leaders), began to manufacture bedroom furniture under the name American Furniture Company.

In the 1920s, American Furniture Company expanded its offerings from bedroom furnishings. Alongside tallboy dressers and nightstands, Witten and Keesee’s outfit began to offer a range of dining-room sets to the discerning customer. By the 1950s, the name had been changed to American of Martinsville and the brand had gained a reputation for exquisite craftsmanship as well as its variety of furniture styles (Hollywood Regency, chinoiserie). Mass-marketed furniture meant big business in the postwar years and throughout the 20th century in Virginia, and factories owned by companies like Bassett Furniture and American of Martinsville remained busy as suburbanites bought furniture to fill the homes they were moving into.

It isn’t difficult to spot American of Martinsville’s sturdy, solid designs — the lacquered walnut nightstands, mahogany coffee tables and more have long earned the admiration of mid-century modernism enthusiasts. The company’s high profile also owes to prominent attributes that distinguish its well-made vintage furniture, such as the use of wooden slats — inspired by Scandinavian modernism — on hutches and cabinet doors, the famous brass x’s inlaid on the tops of tables and dressers and the stately stacked type of the American of Martinsville logo, which usually appears in drawer interiors. The stamp prominently features an eagle perched atop the lettering, its broad wings spread across the “American” portion.

Besides quality manufacturing, American of Martinsville is additionally recognized for having incorporated the trends of the day. Inspired by designers like George Nakashima and Paul Laszlo, the brand was also known for innovations with wood. Merton Gershun was one of the company’s most prolific designers, and he was responsible for some of its most successful modern furniture lines using the richer, darker woods that would become emblematic of mid-century furniture. Gershun’s most popular line was reportedly Dania, with its sleek walnut credenzas fitted with stylish brass accents and large drawers. Today, American of Martinsville specializes in furniture for the healthcare and hospitality industries.

Shop a wide selection of vintage American of Martinsville mid-century modern sideboards, side tables and more on 1stDibs.

Mid-Century Modern American of Martinsville Walnut End Tables, a Pair
By American of Martinsville
Located in Germantown, MD
Two side tables from American of Martinsville one (rectangular) measures 21 inches tall by 22 inches wide by 27 inches deep. Second ( square) measures 21 inches high by 25 inches wid...
Category

Mid-20th Century North American Mid-Century Modern American of Martinsville

Materials

Walnut

Oversize Large Mid-Century Modern Step End Coffee Table w/ Two Drawers
By American of Martinsville
Located in Rockaway, NJ
Very nice oversize mid century modern step table w/ leather top and two drawers
Category

20th Century American Mid-Century Modern American of Martinsville

Materials

Cherry, Leather

American Modern Inlaid Mixed Wood Table, American of Martinsville
By American of Martinsville
Located in Hollywood, FL
The exotically inlaid mixed wood veneers with square legs and a shelf, can be sold separately or together with companion octagonal table.
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage American of Martinsville

A Pair of American of Martinsville Occasional Tables with Caned Shelf
By American of Martinsville
Located in St.Petersburg, FL
A pair of American of Martinsville occasional tables. Pull out drawer, caned shelf underneath. Walnut/black micarta tops.
Category

1960s American Modern Vintage American of Martinsville

Mid-Century Modern Bachelors Chest Mahogany and Brass, Merton Gershun circa 1960
By Merton Gershun, American of Martinsville, Arne Vodder
Located in Framingham, MA
Stunning chest of drawers in walnut and brass by Merton Gershun for American of Martinsville. Sculpted modernist ellipses pulls. Solid brass detail on the legs. This dresser is in ex...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage American of Martinsville

Materials

Brass

Vintage Dresser by American of Martinsville
By American of Martinsville
Located in Los Angeles, CA
An extraordinary 1960's Mid-Century Modern credenza made out of maple wood, is newly stained in a red & ebonized color combination with lacquer finish and has been professionally res...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage American of Martinsville

Materials

Brass

A pair of American of Martinsville Benches, with Original Leather Seat, 1950s.
By American of Martinsville
Located in Philadelphia, PA
Pair of American of Martinsville small benches, with original leather seats, American, 1950s. Leather cushions have original labels.    
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage American of Martinsville

Materials

Wood

American of Martinsville Ebony and Brass Platform Bookcase
By American of Martinsville
Located in Cincinnati, OH
A two-piece ebony finished bookcase set with a lower three drawer platform accented with brass bands and having a upper three section bookcase. The bookcase can be adjusted to any ar...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern American of Martinsville

Materials

Wood

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American of Martinsville furniture for sale on 1stDibs

Furniture from American of Martinsville are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive objects are often made of wood and designed with extraordinary care. There are many options in our collection of American furniture from Martinsville, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. We stock 206 vintage versions of these items, while there is 0 modern edition to choose from as well. Many of the original furniture by American of Martinsville were created in the Mid-Century Modern style in North America during the 20th Century. If you are looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by Kipp Stewart, Henredon and John Widdicomb. Prices for American of Martinsville furniture can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes. Price for these items starts at $250 and tops out at $39,500, while pieces like these can sell for $2,400 on average.
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